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Pennsylvania Rules for Employing Minors

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on December 17, 2012.

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Employers in Pennsylvania must conform with these state rules relating to the employment of minors.

A new Child Labor Act is in effect in Pennsylvania as of January 22, 2013.

A minor is not permitted to work unless he or she has a work permit, and for minors under 16 years of age, a written statement by the minor's parent or legal guardian acknowledging understanding of the duties and hours of employment and granting permission to work subject to the provisions of the law. Before employing a minor, an employer must verify the work permit and receive the required verified statement.

Work permits, issued on a wallet-sized form prescribed by the department of labor and industry, must contain the following information related to the minor:

  • name
  • gender
  • date of birth
  • place of residence
  • color of hair and eyes
  • physical work restrictions, if any

A minor under the age of 14 may not be employed except:

  • as a golf caddy (must be at least 12 years of age), limited to carrying no more than one golf bag at a time and employment is not for more than 18 holes of golf in a single day
  • in the delivery of newspapers (must be at least 11 years of age)
  • in a performance

Minors are prohibited from being employed where alcoholic beverages are produced, sold or dispensed. Certain exceptions apply.

Minors are prohibited from being employed in any occupation designated as hazardous and otherwise prohibited by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and related regulations. A minor under the age of 16 is prohibited from being employed in youth peddling.

A minor may not be employed for more than five hours continuously without receiving a 30-minute rest period, and a minor may not be employed for more than six consecutive days.

Minors under the age of 16 are generally limited to working no more than:

  • three hours on a school day
  • eight hours on a nonschool day
  • 18 hours during a regular school week
  • 40 hours a week when school is not in session

Minors may not work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., except that during school vacation minors may work until 9 p.m. The department may allow a minor not subject to the federal FLSA to receive an extension to work until 10 p.m.

Exceptions apply in certain nonhazardous work on a farm in hatching, raising or harvesting poultry; delivering newspapers or periodicals; and recognized, supervised school-work programs, provided the combined school and work day does not exceed eight hours.

When school is in session, minors who are 16 years of age and older are limited to working no more than 28 hours in a regular school week; no more than eight hours in a single day, and may not be employed before 6 a.m. or after midnight, except that during school vacation the minor may be employed until 1 a.m.

During school vacation, a minor who is 16 years of age and older may not be employed for more than ten hours in a single day; or for more than 48 hours in a single week, provided that any hours over 44 in a single week are voluntarily agreed to by the minor and may be rejected by the minor without retaliation.

Special rules apply for minors employed as:

  • newspaper delivery persons
  • counselors
  • food service workers
  • performers

These hour restrictions do not apply to a minor who is a high school graduate or who is exempt from compulsory school attendance requirements.

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